UC Davis Finds Winning Side In Softball Split

April 23, 2005

UC Davis 5, UC Riverside 4 (11 inn.)
UC Riverside 4, UC Davis 3

DAVIS, Calif. - Pitcher Rachel Kelly went the distance and drove home the winning run in the bottom of the 11th inning as UC Davis beat UC Riverside 5-4 in the first game of their nonconference softball doubleheader on Saturday at La Rue Field to end a 15-game losing streak, while the Highlanders rebounded to edge the Aggies 4-3 in the nightcap.

UC Davis moved to 6-38 after the split while UC Riverside is now 13-35. Megan De La Hoya had four hits in the doubleheader to help lead the Aggies in their 17-hit attack on Saturday. Elizabeth Buck had a two-run home run for the Highlanders to help them in the opener.

Kelly had a standout effort in the pitching circle and at the plate for UC Davis in the first game, striking out nine batters and walking just one while scattering 11 hits. She had a pair hits herself, including the game-winning double down the left field line with two outs in the 11th, scoring Stacey Benzing from first with the winning run. Kelly also had a key hit in the seventh inning as UC Davis rallied for two runs to tie the game 4-4 and force extra innings.

The game was a scoreless tie until the fourth when Buck delivered a home run deep to left-center field with one out, scoring Jessica Black on the play as well. Leading 2-0, UC Riverside tacked on an unearned run in the fifth inning for a 3-0 advantage but UC Davis responded with a pair in the bottom of the sixth. Marie Davies walked with one out before De La Hoya, Kristin Herrera and Ashley Johnson strung together consecutive hits off starter Danira Iolamo to bring the Aggies to within 3-2.



Shortstop Mandy Salcido had an RBI single in the top of the seventh to give the Highlanders a 4-2 lead but singles by Lauren Pieretti, Kelly and a two-run single by De La Hoya after a walk to Benzing tied the game 4-4. UC Davis had runners at second and third with just one out in the frame before reliever Christin Songer was able to work out of the jam.

UC Riverside loaded the bases with two out in the 10th but Kelly was able to get a groundout to end the threat. The Highlanders then had the go-ahead run at third with one out in the 11th before Kelly fielded a squeeze bunt by Melissa Sanchez and flipped to catcher Megan Turman to get the out at the plate and help keep the Highlanders off the scoreboard again.

Benzing drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the 11th, and with two outs, Kelly doubled sharply down the line to bring Benzing all the way from first with the winning run. The win was the Aggies' first since a 1-0 win against Princeton on Mar. 15.

UC Davis had to battle back in the second game as well after UC Riverside took a 2-0 lead in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Salcido and an RBI single by Dani Bishop. Pitcher Lindsay Tognetti, who gave way to Pieretti in the sixth, singled in De La Hoya with the Aggies' first run in the fourth. In the fifth, Turman scored all the way from first after a play on Nikki Sheldon's bunt attempt resulted with a thrown ball into right, tying the game 2-2.

The Highlanders loaded the bags against Pieretti in the sixth, scoring on a fielder's choice by April Murray and a single by Jamie Yee. UC Davis - which got a sacrifice fly from Tognetti in the sixth to get within 4-3 - had runners at first and second with two outs in the seventh but Iolamo earned a save by getting De La Hoya on a groundout.

Aggie coach Karen Matteson was pleased to see her team battle back to a win in the first game and nearly repeat the feat in the nightcap.

"I think we did a lot better today with runners in scoring position," she said. "The players battled. It was a really great effort."

Sara Radabaugh (7-18) earned the win in the nightcap for UC Riverside. Buck had three hits on the day to lead the Highlanders while De La Hoya had four for UC Davis. Herrera, Turman and Kelly each had three for the Aggies.

UC Riverside and UC Davis will complete their three-game weekend series with a single game on Sunday at noon at La Rue Field.